The mountains - about 120 km long - were forced up during the creation of the Great Rift Valley. At the centre of the range are six peaks with permanent snow, three with glaciers. The highest mountain in the range, Mount Stanley, can only be reached by experienced trekkers. Its peak, Margherita, the third highest in Africa after Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya, rises to 5,109m above sea level.
A hike through the lower, central Rwenzori needs about five days; ascent of the peaks requires a further two days and is only for the really fit, and needs preparedness and proper equipment. Due to weather restrictions, the best time to climb the mountain is from June through to August and from December to February. Trekking a minimum of 6 hours a day is usual on the Central Circuit Trail.
Arrival at the airport, meet and greet with M21093 staff to transfer you to your hotel in Kampala city. Dinner and Overnight (Africana Hotel), (FB).
Day 1: Drive to Kasese stopping to look at royal drum makers at Mpigi and a brief stop at the Equator. Continue for lunch in Mbarara before heading north to the escarpment that looks over the Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake Edward. Arrive in Kasese to make final arrangements for the trek before retiring to your hotel where the Rwenzori Mountains act as a majestic backdrop. Dinner & Overnight: Margherita Hotel, Kasese or Rwenzori Bunkhouse, Ibanda (FB).
Day 2: Proceed to the Nyakalengija trail head (1600 m) where the Uganda Wildlife Authority will provide an informative briefing prior to commencing the trek. Walk past Bakonjo homesteads dwarfed by steep foothills and banana plantations. Follow the trail along the Mubuku River, to cross the Mahoma River and before climbing steadily through Podocarpus forest. O/N: Nyabitaba Hut (2650 m) on a full board basis.
Day 3: After a substantive breakfast, depart Nyabitaba early, along a small trail dropping down through the forest to the Kurt Shafer Bridge, just below the convergence of the Bujuku and Mubuku Rivers. The forest gradually turns into a bamboo zone where the trail is slippery and moss-covered. A zone of the giant heather, lobelia and groundsel vegetation emerges before the Nyamileju rock shelter before traversing a bog to the hut. O/N: John Matte Hut (3350 m) on a Full Board basis.
Day 4: The trail crashes down to cross the Bujuku River and enters Lower Bigo Bog, home of giant lobelias. Cross the bog to the Upper Bigo bog before continuing to Lake Bujuku where views of the highest mountain - Stanley - to the west are to be seen. O/N: Bujuku Hut (3900 m) on a Full Board basis.
Day 5: After Bujuku, the boggy trail climbs the slopes west of the lake, passing through the paranormal groundsel gully. Ascend to Scott-Elliot Pass (4372m). A metal ladder takes you over an extremely steep section after which the trail branches, the right leads up to Elena Hut and Mt Stanley over a steep rocky trail, while the left leads to Scott-Elliot Pass and down to Lake Kitandara. O/N: Elena Hut (4541 m) at the base of the Stanley Glacier, on a Full Board basis.
Day 6: For those who do not wish to climb the peak, a more restful day walking from Elena Hut (4541 m) to Lake Kitandara (4023 m). For those who wish, but also depending on altitude sickness, visibility, climbing ability and acclimatisation, climb a further three hours to Margherita peak (5109 m) and later down to Kitandara Hut. Trek to the Elena glacier, before moving on to the Stanley Plateau.
Climb and scramble to Margherita summit, the highest point of the Rwenzoris. Use of Crampons and ropes may well be necessary. Be prepared for a tough, arduous time in the mountains. Return to the Scott-Elliot pass, view the magical Bujuku Lake and Mt Speke at a distance, continue to down to the Lake Kitandara. O/N: Kitandara Hut (4023 m) on a Full Board basis.
Day 7: After breakfast, a steep climb from the base of Mt Baker to the south side of the mountain to the Freshfield Pass (4280 m). Views into the Congo to the west and Mt Stanley to the north are possible. From the pass, the boggy trail continues downwards, passing the rock shelter at Bujangolo, the base camp for the historic expedition by the Duke of Abruzzi in 1906. O/N: Guy Yeoman Hut (3260 m) on a Full Board basis.
Day 8: The trail to Nyabitaba Hut can be muddy and very slippery under foot. An overnight stop at the Nyabitaba Hut is often abandoned to return to the civilisation of Ibanda or Kasese. O/N: Nyabitaba Hut (2650 m) or Ibanda/Kasese on a Full Board basis.
Day 9: For those that have spent the night at Nyabitaba Hut the trail descends to the Nyakalengija trail head (1600 m), arriving late morning. Drive to Kasese for lunch and onto to Queen Elizabeth National Park game viewing on the way to the lodge. In the afternoon enjoy a launch trip on the Kazinga Channel. O/N: Mweya Safari Lodge or Jacana Safari Lodge (FB).
Day 10: After breakfast depart for an early morning game drive before continuing to Kampala. Lunch en-route, arriving late afternoon. Continue to Entebbe airport for your flight. .
- We are able to offer this itinerary as an Upmarket, Mid range or budget tour by utilising alternative accommodation options at the places to be visited.
- Accommodations outlined in this tour proposal are purely examples. Tour prices on request. Contact us!
- Elements of this tour can be designed into a tailor-made itinerary you may us to prepare for you on request.
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Africa Uganda Outdoor: Land Rambler Hiking & Trekking
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